What Causes to Democracy Fail?

What Causes to Democracy Fail?


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It will be structured along the following lines:

1          statement of research topic

2          review of literature relevant to the research topic

3          formulation of hypotheses

4          defining and operationalizing concepts

5          design for testing hypotheses/data analysis (and, if time permits, actual testing)

6                      conclusion



Format for the Research Project:

  • The research project must have a (1) statement of research topic(introduction), a thesis statement, a body, and a conclusion. The research project should have a clear organizational structure including transitions between the sections.
  • Introduction / statement of research topic: In this part you need to get reader’s attention. First, state the question that you are answering. Then, briefly explain why it is an important question. (You may include any practical (and/or theoretical) reasons for addressing this question. If you think that the question you are answering is ambiguous, please make sure to interpret the problem in the way you understand it. If the question you are tackling is too broad, narrow it down.)
  • Review of literature relevant to the research topic and Thesis statement / The body section: While writing this section you will need to (1) elaborate on the previous literature that has dealt with this problem/question. The purpose of this exercise is to see what we know about the answers to your question based on other people’s research (and how your paper “fits” into it). In writing this section you should avoid presenting mere paragraphs that describe one by one previous studies. Rather, your task here is to analyze previous studies and explain how they are similar and different. If there is more than one explanation to the phenomena that they study, try to explain why there might be two or more explanations. This means that you need to assess previous knowledge and present your own judgment about its relevance to the question. You do not have to read every single study written on the topic, just some of the most important ones.

Additionally and in relation to your literature review, in this section you will need to (2) clearly present your argument and show the logic of the argument. Your thesis statement should start with: “In this paper I argue that [… XàY]” or “The major argument of this study is [… XàY]”. Next, explain why we should expect a relationship between the factors that you think are important and the phenomenon/phenomena that need/s to be explained (15%). In this section try to make the big points that relate to the question that you are answering. After you write a paragraph try to re-read it to make sure that it is clear how this paragraph relates to the question under consideration.

It would be admirable if in this section try to demonstrate how your answer “fits” the previous knowledge (analyzed as a part of the literature review). If there is a disagreement among scholars on a particular issue, does your study solve this disagreement? Does it take any particular side? If so, then why? If there is a complete agreement among scholars on a particular issue, does your argument agree with them or does it bring a new revolutionary explanation that overturns the conventional wisdom? Or maybe the problem has not yet received much attention and you are a pioneer in explaining the phenomenon (phenomena) of your interest. Or perhaps you are simply testing somebody else’s argument that has not been tested yet? In either case, demonstrate how your argument is superior to other explanations, if any of them exist.

  • Formulation of hypotheses: After having clearly stated your argument in the previous section, in this section, present a formal statement of your hypothesis(es) based on your argument (and any competing explanations) that you are testing. It means that your hypothesis(es) statement has to clearly contain your key explanatory (independent / causal / treatment / manipulated) and the dependent (consequence / effect / outcome) variables.
  • Defining and operationalizing concepts: Be sure to define any major concepts and variables that you are using in your argumentation. Do not use definitions from dictionary or web. If the authors from the reviewed studies provide a definition of the main terms, you may use these. You do not have to explain the logic of your thesis in this section, since you should have already done so in an earlier section.
  • Testing hypotheses / Data analysis: In this section you should ideally (collect), describe, and analyze (qualitative or quantitative) data, whether from primary or secondary sources. Since in the course of a short semester it may not be possible to collect original data or presents a detailed data analysis, you should at very least provide a research design, or your roadmap as to how you would go about conducting your data collection and data analysis. You should describe the sources of your data, and show why you chose a particular methodology.

While it would be certainly admirable if your findings support your argument and you use a complex research methodology, yet I completely understand if your analysis is preliminary and rudimentary and your findings do not support the proposed argument(s) and hypothesis(es). What is necessary for the purposes of this paper is to show that you can apply skills acquired in this course (such as literature review, argument and hypothesis formulation and data analysis), then to have great results and fancy methods.

  • Conclusion: In this section, briefly re-state the issue that you investigate and its importance. Re-emphasize your own answer to this question and its place in the previous research. Indicate any potential areas for the future research in light of the statements you make. In case your results do not support the hypotheses, indicate what might have been responsible for this lack of intended findings.






My Previous Literature Review: This is my literature review (listed below) that you are supposed to elaborate on.



Why Democracy Fail

Most studies on the stability of democracies are based on social-economic or politico-institution traditions but not both.  This literature review will, therefore, combine the two concepts in examining the stability of democracy. Various variables (such as inequality, insecure elites, maintaining of power among other variables) are considered to contribute to democracies’ failure. Therefore, this paper will argue that both political and socioeconomic factors, contributes to democracies’ failure.

Furnman (2019) systematic review argue that people of low economic status are always the majority.  In the early days the rich, seized power and wealth and made freedom privilege for the poor. However, democracy was established to balance out the inequality of power.  Most rich countries have adopted democracies, but the same cannot be said of countries like China (Furm 2017). Chimp’s (2020) game-theoretical model holds that democracies, especially the young democracies, fail because income inequality levels weaken them. The increasing income disparities indicates a dysfunctional democratic state in which economic power is consolidated in the hands of few people; as such economic opportunities should be widely shared and diffused. Kapstein’s (2012) analytical review holds that young democracies do not provide an enough supply of public goods such as health care and education and, in most cases, fail. Democracy is expected to have the ability to deliver public goods to a broader spectrum of citizens and not just the elite. Hence if democracy does not provide and meet these demands, then it will undoubtedly fail.

Secondly, most studies have agreed that the incumbents’ insecurity is a significant factor in the failure of democracy. As noted in the early days, the elite group consolidated power and health at the poor people’s expense. Notably, the economically disadvantaged group is the majority. Therefore, to maintain power during those days, the elite ensured that they economically sabotage the poor and freedom was a privilege (Furnman, 2019). The elite feared that they might lose their power when societies become democratic. Furnman (2019) argues that the ruling elite who were confident about chances of competition consolidated power under the conservative political party before the establishment of democracy. This allowed them to compromise and give some power to survive a changing landscape (Chimp, 2020). Those ruling elites who commanded power before democracy availed political actions that were easier than competing under democratic conditions ( Furnman, 2019). Some of the actions include electoral fraud, corruption, establishing counter-institutions and attacking the media (Furnman, 2019).

Similarly, Chimp (2020) noted that the ruling elites change electoral laws and constitution to ensure that they stay in power.  Consequently, this leads to a democratic breakdown.  At times the ruling elites try to seize power as a defensive act. In this case, power is used as a pre-emptive weapon against opponents for the fear of being ousted (Chimp (2020). For instance, military leaders seize powers in coups when they fear that the incumbent government is institutionalizing partisan advantage—the case of Mali in Africa, Thailand and Bangladesh. According to Kapstein (2012), combinations of these fears with the usual temptations of political power makes democracy consolidation difficult.  As such, Frum (2017) holds that structural conditions shapes the expected payoffs from various actions that are taken, but no strategic uncertainty becomes an engine to the breakdown of democracy.

Moreover, Kapstein argues that ethic fragmentation fuels democratic breakdown. Ethnically fragmented states face the challenge of building institutions that become unable to overcome. Such states are face tensions that not easier to resolve. The insider (dominant group) consolidates all power in that the outsiders (the minorities) find it hard to have an alternative. The fragmentation of the party systems is prone to democratic collapse that systems with low-level fragmentation (Frum, 2019).

As such, most of the literature has highlighted ethic and party systems fragmentation as one reason why democracy collapse. Others have highlighted social-economic factors such as income inequality and poverty, maintenance of power, and the incumbents’ insecurity as the main reasons (Frum 2019). Therefore, previous studies have discussed the same issues. However, they individually highlight in depth each factor. With this, my literature conforms with the previous studies. My literature review brings all factors together to give the issue a broader perspective.

Discussing the relationship between these factors will help people understand how democracy works. In addition, people will understand how democracy can be sustained. As such, democracy can be a tool of significant political change and equality of power (Frum, 2019).   For instance, if the government can ensure that the public goods are available to the citizens, people would not be looking to overthrow the government. Consequently, the incumbents would be confident to compete with their rivals in elections fairly. Moreover, when all communities are part of the government, minority groups can voice their concerns.
















Chimp. D (2020). Why Democracies Fail…or How? https://dartthrowingchimp.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/why-democracies-fail-or-how/

Furnman (2017). Democracy Falls: Why Democracies Fail. Retrieved from

Democracy Falls: Why Democracies Fail

Frum, D (2017). Why Do Democracies Fail? Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/06/why-do-democracies-fail/530949/

Kapstein, E. (2012). Why Democracies Fail: Lessons from Mali? Retrieved from https://www.cgdev.org/blog/why-democracies-fail-lessons-mali





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